Morgan House has been named the new manager of the Lake Lanier Olympic Venue, with the purpose of restoring the facility and attracting visitors to the area.
“I was born and raised in Gainesville,” House said. “I’ve been kayaking since I was 8 years old. I’m 26 now, I’ll be 27 this month. And I’ve spent most of my life at the venue.
“It’s more than a second home to me,” he said. “If there’s anything closer than that, that’s what it is, and I just want to make it the best it can possibly be.”
The Gainesville High School graduate has a bachelor’s degree in marketing and public relations from Ashford University. He’s an Olympic-level kayaker and most recently served as a high-performance canoe/kayak coach for the Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club.
“His knowledge and experience with venues like what we have here in Gainesville at the Olympic venue was certainly one factor,” Gainesville-Hall ‘96 Foundation Chairwoman Mimi Collins said. “His passion and enthusiasm for the venue and for this community certainly was another.”
House said he plans to continue coaching on a part-time basis.
Prior to his coaching position, he was district executive for the Boy Scouts of America, participating in fundraising, campaign management, scouting membership recruitment and camp activities.
“His degree and background in marketing and PR certainly was a strength,” Collins said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do, and to have somebody that has the passion and the personality to be able to work with various different stakeholders, and help this community really have a vision for the venue ... we were really looking for that right mixture of all those things.”
The Lake Lanier Olympic Venue at 3105 Clarks Bridge Road has been in a state of disrepair for years. The Gainesville-Hall ’96 Foundation hired House to oversee the needed improvements and revitalization.
Hired March 21 and beginning the job this week, House already has a laundry list of tasks to accomplish in his new position.
“I would say the top priorities are taking care of some capital projects that need to be done, especially repairs and upkeep of the facility,” he said. “I think on the boathouse side, especially, there are a lot of little things and big things that need to be given TLC, including the roofing. Painting the walls and front doors, and just make the place look more like a training center.”
A variety of improvements need to be addressed, from bathroom renovations to heating and air-conditioning issues.
“So many people drive over Clarks Bridge and they see the amazing Olympic tower, and then they keep driving,” House said. “A lot of times I’ll bring people down to the venue on the tower side and they’ll say, ‘Oh my gosh, this is amazing. We should have a concert here, we should have a festival here. We should have a boat show here, we should have a triathlon here.’
“And I think we definitely should,” he added. “So there’s a lot of huge potential outside of kayak and rowing sports, and I think in order for the venue to thrive we’re going to have to tap into those other activities.”